Entries from January 2009 ↓

News: Devil Incarnate – Richard Attenborough

Click to view article
I couldn’t let this one pass.

According to Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, gentle, nature-loving Richard Attenborough receives regular hate-mail from faithful Christian creationists who threaten him with eternal damnation for supporting evolution.

This is religious faith gone mad. (See full article)

Alex McCullie

News: Obama & Abortion – Step Away from US Faith-driven Government

Click to view The BBC article

BBC News reports the strong Vatican opposition to Obama’s decision to restore US funding of overseas family planning clinics. US again joins the ranks of other developed democracies with strong secular governments. One Vatican official equates family planning with the “the slaughter of the innocents“. (Full article from the BBC)

Alex McCullie

News: UK Man Shocked with No God Messages

The UK bus “probably no God” continues with a London business driver being horrified at seeing the bus messages questioning the existence of God (see article at Christian Today website). Why are religious people so fragile even with the most moderate questioning? Is this the problem of faith with no evidence?

I should complain every time I see a “you will be saved by God message”.

Alex McCullie

previous related blog entry


News: Reduce Miracle Bragging – Vatican

Click to view The Independent article

According to The Independent – click photo to see, the Roman Catholic church will introduce rules to keep proclaimers of miracles silent until formal investigation. Here’s the good bit. The church will:

The visionaries will then be visited by a team of psychiatrists, either atheists or Catholics, to certify their mental health while theologians will assess the content of any heavenly messages to see if they contravene Church teachings.

I assume that any gnostic miracles would “contravene Church teachings” and, therefore, by definition didn’t happen. Is this one mythology versus another?
(Click here The Independent article.)

Alex McCullie

News: Accepting Marital Violence – the Bible Requires It

Why do many religious believers insist that faith should usurp humanity? Why should 2000+ year old pronouncements allow or encourage misery in the lives of people today?

That seems to be the instruction of Pastor Tom Holladay from megachurch Saddleback Church in southern California. This church was founded by best-selling author Rick Warren. Holladay says that violence in marriage does not provide grounds for divorce. Apparently the Bible only specifies abandonment and infidelity. By violence Holladay is means:

 ”Physical abuse, he defined, is someone “literally” beating another person up regularly.”

Even this isn’t enough for divorce. (See article at Christian Today web site.)

Last Sunday I attended Sunday service at St Michael’s Church in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a Uniting Church with Dr Francis Macnab as its executive minister. I’ve mentioned Macnab before as a leading light for progressive Christianity in Melbourne, if not Australia. He preaches a new kind of faith with the welfare of humanity as more important than mindlessly enforcing 2000-2500 year old rules. Macnab’s vision of positive faith makes an interesting comparison with Holladay’s ancient rights-and-wrongs approach to marriage counselling.

Alex McCullie

Macnab replaces 10 commandments (news article)

St Michael’s Church web site

A different theological response from the Uniting Church to Macnab

Comment: Alcohol with a dash of Hypocrisy

Just came from the cinema and I just love capitalism.

The local government sponsors an advertisement warning young people about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption leading to violence and injury. Then quickly followed two separate advertisements promoting beer and wine alcohol consumption as part of being sexy and attractive.

Alex McCullie

News: Another Roman Catholic Search Engine

Protecting a fragile faith…

http://www.thecatholicsearch.com is another and older search engine that’s safe for Catholics. Unlike CatholicGoogle (now named Cathoogle – a problem with Google?) mentioned previously, The Catholic Search engine restricts you to acceptable sites only – a sort of non-catholic Roman Catholic search – sorry.

This time my site didn’t come up with The catholic Search engine!

See Faithworld for a blog discussion.

Alex McCullie

News: The Teaching Company – Free Offering

I’ve purchased many lecture series from the Teaching Company to listen in the car or during train trips. The courses cover many academic subjects by high qualified US professors. I’ve worked through Bart Erhman’s courses on Lost Christianities, New Testament and After the New Testament. They are very professionally produced recordings with accompanying notes. Initially their courses appear expensive. However the prices are regularly reduced so check the On sale link on their web site for very affordable pricing.

Here’s a link to a free course from the Teaching Company on Martin Luther King. Have a taste of something pretty impressive.

Alex McCullie

Comment: Humans Evolved by Accident – Not God’s Deliberate Creation

This is the major problem evangelists, creations and other devout religious believers have with evolutionary theory. They usually then vilify Charles Darwin and Darwinism as something from Satan.

PA PHOTO/THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
PA PHOTO/THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

Despite the reluctance of scientists to comment on religious matters, the accidental implications of evolution have enormous implications for people’s understanding of themselves in the world and on the foundations of most religious beliefs. Moving from “God’s children” to “accidental outcome” is unpalatable for traditional religious believers. So it is not surprising that 200 years after Darwin’s birth there are concerted attacks on Darwin and vehement denials of the most diversely validated scientific theory we have today – one that is accepted by virtually every scientist working in the field of biology.

Liberal-minded believers try to accommodate evolution without losing the God’s children myth. They say that God works mysteriously through evolution processes to achieve the outcome they seek, namely special divine position of humankind. So they take evolutionary processes that provide the best explanation we have of the diversity of life and add a magical “God” factor. Unfortunately this addition is totally unnecessary as it offers nothing extra in explanatory terms nor in predictability. In fact the religious magic only complicates unnecessarily. These religious people should read the great axiom from Franciscan friar, William of Ockham, that essentially says one should minimise unnecessary assumptions.

Mark Steel writes about our accidental evolution in The Independent (article 7 Jan 2009). Also philosopher Philip Kitcher explores the metaphysical implications of evolution in Living with Darwin (see Amazon link below).

Alex McCullie

Write: London Buses – Probably No God Message

Times Online: probably no god message
I’ve mentioned the non-God bus message campaign before. Here’s a recent news article update with Richard Dawkins and model photographed with one of the buses (article).

Alex McCullie